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Burrell approves tax increase of about 2%

| Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 12:31 a.m.

Burrell School Board on Tuesday unanimously approved a budget for the 2013-14 school year that increases real estate taxes by about 2 percent.

The $27 million spending plan decreased only slightly from the preliminary budget approved in May because of minute drops in the cost of special education and workers compensation, said Business Manager Jennifer Callahan.

The budget represents an increase of about 4 percent over the 2012-13 budget, which Callahan had attributed primarily to rising retirement costs plus contractual employee raises.

Property taxes will climb from 85.4 mills this school year to 87.2 mills next school year, a 1.8-mill increase.

The new tax rate would mean a hike of about $39 for the average homeowner.

Callahan said property owners who qualify for the homestead/farmstead exclusion — a tax rebate funded by state gambling revenue — will receive a credit of about $156 per home next year.

The budget was approved in a 6-0 vote; Directors Tom Klebine, John Marhefka and Linda Woiewodski were absent.

Although he had approved the preliminary budget, Klebine afterward had said he would have a difficult time approving the final budget if it included a tax increase.

He and Woiewodski, the two “no” votes a year ago on the 2012-13 budget that increased taxes, both referenced their disapproval of the early-bird teacher contract that was approved in 2010 and extends until 2016.

The contract offered average annual raises of about 4 percent, although all district employees later agreed to a wage freeze during the 2011-12 school year.

Liz Hayes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4680 or lhayes@tribweb.com.

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